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This article is property of The Ultimate Thinker. Please ask the creator first about anything related to the content. Comments are appreciated.
The Epic Battle Begins...
|Writer||The Ultimate Thinker|
|Artist||The Ultimate Thinker|
- Let God stop me if he dares!
- --Alistair Baldrick, as he leaves the house after murdering Louisa Just.
- What a fool! If it´s a God our little murderer wants to face... Well, challenge accepted!
- --Misfortune, as he learns of the ingenious murder of Louisa
"The Fool" is the first issue of Volume 1 of the comic series "Misfortune", written by The Ultimate Thinker, for Paragon Comics. The story mainly introduces the characters and elements central to the plotline.
London, 14:02, 18th November, 2016
The curtains are drawn in. No light can penetrate the room, ever so calm and silent in it´s victorian aura. Above the fireplace layed a statue of the virgin Mary, her blue all-seeing eyes glaring upon the lone inhabitants of that house. An older man, elegantly dressed in a dark purple and white, pours tea into two cups, it´s falling as gentle as the fall of a single rain drop in a large ocean. He carries a monocle over his left eye, the darkness in his pupils reflected upon it. Twisting his hand and his face, the sixty year old man smiles and walks at a slow rate with the cups in his hand, heading towards the same fireplace. Sat beneath it is a second man, covered in red. The glasses he carries makes him a mystery; no one knows what he is thinking or doing. Is he truly focused on that newspaper of his? Or on the Tarot cards neatly arranged in the table?
The older man sits on the opposite couch, laying the tea cups on the table. As he clears it for space, he comes across a card. It is a card of a happy man bathing in the sun, dressed in a clown´s attire. Beneath his feet however is an abyss, to which he will eventually fall. Under the drawing, there is a designation: The Fool, in golden handwriting.
"What an appropriate name." - The older man remarks, crossing his legs.
"Indeed." - The man in red nods.
"Anything interesting in the papers? Surely there must be. Our great detective hasn´t dedicated himself to sports now has he?"
"Spear me your pathetic sarcasm, my friend." - The man´s tone reigned supreme across the entire room. - "But please, dear... Do make yourself useful and read aloud anything that should spark your interest. I´m too tired to do so myself."
"As you wish, Sir." - Quentin firmly responded, taking the newspaper from his master´s hand. - "I don´t see anything that... as you say, would spark my interest. The same politics, the same scandals, the same players but with different names. Oh! There is this supposedly incredible science investigation going on, Sir. And... hmm... We do have something rather queer here."
"What is it, man?" - The other one asked, shuffling all the cards and making them into a full deck once more.
"Ian Hemmings is supposedly taking part in this scientific project funded by Mrs. Kyda Jabbour."
The candle next to the statue of the Virgin Mary burned brighter.
The man in red draws another card. Once again, he gets The Fool. - "Seems fate is persistent with stupidity today."
"My dear Misfortune, do you think this is the London Killer we´re talking about? The chap who brutally tortured and murdered those children? The Ian Helmings we help to put away?"
"No, Quentin... It´s Ian Hemmings, the pie maker." - He puts the Fool back and shuffles it again in the stack. - "It seems these idiots will never learn. They have no idea how dangerous that man is... He reminds of that Jack the Ripper character we executed when manipulative Queen Victoria asked for our aid." - He draws again. The Fool shows up once more, each time looking closer and closer to the abyss he so cheerfully heads towards. - "You do remember?"
"Of course, Misfortune. Of course. And even though two-hundred years have passed, we haven´t aged a single day."
"There are these new Whitechapel murders I´m afraid. But this time it´s with men, business men. And our boy Vernish is on the case it seems."
"Whitechapel? How very interesting." - He pauses. - "Call DCI Lawrence Vernish. Tell him I´d like to take on the case."
"Misfortune, my dear friend, you see... it´s quite possible he doesn´t wish for your assistance and..."
"Quentin, my naive butler... Are you actually suggesting someone would say no to me? To me? Me?"
Quentin looks Misfortune in the eyes, darkness to darkness. They are unmoving, inhuman, cold and detached.
"I´ll call him right away, Sir."
As the butler rises to get the phone, Misfortune smiles. - "Who are the fools I wonder? The criminals that break the laws made to secure them? The people who watch them do it without acting? Or those who try to stop those same criminals and become nothing but what they were fighting against in the first place? Perhaps, even all of them."
"Mr. Vernish? It´s me, Stride." - Quentin whispers into his ear.
"Oh God, no. Why are you calling, Mr. Stride?"
Misfortune looks amused: his skiny fingers rubbing the ends of a wine glass he just filled. Not amused though. Happy? If so, it has been an eternity since such a sight was witnessed.
London, 19:54, 21th November, 2016
"Mother, I´m home." - The boy said as the key rolled up in the door and let him in. As he entered, a huge light brown dog jumped on him, her claws scratching away the little energy he still had in him after a harsh day of school.
"Look who´s here, Venus." - Said a voice, echoing from the kitchen - "It´s our little Alistair." - The woman continued, coming out of the kitchen. She was an attractive woman. In her forties perhaps? She wore her hair short, brown; dark brown. And in her eyes there was a sign of kindness and love. - "How was your day?"
"Fine, I guess." - Alistair answered. - "School isn´t very interesting. Well, at least not classes. They are actually quite boring. My life´s boring."
"Alistair, you know I don´t like to hear you say such nonsense."
"Oh don´t worry, mum. You´ll never see me floating around in the river after launching myself off some bridge. I am too selfish for that." - He puts on a little grin, guarding his umbrella and his bag as he does so.
"Aren´t you going to ask me about my day?" - The mother steps closer.
Her smile vanishes. The silence becomes stronger.
"Oh, mum. You know I care." - He remarks, putting his cold hand on her shoulder.
"Yeah, I do." - She takes his hand in hers. - "But you could just show it more."
"You´re right. I could. But it wouldn´t be the same now would it?" - He grins.
"I´m afraid it wouldn´t."
She turns her back, heading towards the kitchen, a delighting aroma fueling the air.
"Ms. Baldric." - Alistair calls on. - "How was your day?" - He asks. Happy. That was how they were. Just like in that gigantic painting across the dining room, where a man and a woman stood still with a young boy in their arms. It has truly been an eternity, hasn´t it?
London, 20:11, 21th November, 2016
It´s dark.The sun is completely set on the horizon, as the moon in a curved shape comes showing. You can barely see anyone in the streets already: only the occasional jogger or a young group of friends. In a black limousine, an old man drives calmly across the city, the shadows moving across his face.
"Everything´s prepared, Quentin?" - A voice from the back demanded.
"Yes, Sir. Everything just as you ordered, master."
"You didn´t take any liberties did you?"
"No, Sir." - He responds, stopping the car near a pub. It´s silent. - "What if I had done?"
"Then I´d probably kill you. The last time you did so, the so-called Zodiac Killer nearly escaped between my fingers."
"Yes, I remember. But to be honest, Sir, we both know you can´t kill me."
"Then I´m afraid I´ll resort to even darker methods. I´ll fire you, Quentin... You know what I mean."
An expression of horror crossed the cunning butler´s face. - "Oh... Well, shall we go in, Sir?"
Alistair is wearing a grey jacket and blue jeans, his elegant scarf swirling as he moves from side to side. He convinced his mother. She was so easy to fool. A little excuse associated with a school work and he got permission to leave instantly. It pains him to lie to her; the only person he still actually loves and cares for... but it´s a necessity. She would understand, wouldn´t she? He´s been planning this for months. The murder of his teacher. As of now, he is five minutes away from her house. As of now, she is five minutes away from her death. If anyone is deserving of this fate, it´s that damned woman! He can hardly wait...Then, he pauses slowly. Besides him is a pub: "The Hot Spoon" cafe written in shinning orange on a medium sized sign. On the opposite side is a black limousine. An old victorian man gets out of the car and escorts his master to the same pub. What a peculiar men he is! Dressed in all red, a massive hat on his head. His face is impossible to track; His eyes and any sort of emotion hidden by a pair of glasses. The man walks vigorously, step by step as if time was of no importance. His butler, in the shadowy background, simply smiles as his employer walks ahead. What a man, indeed!
"There was something in that child´s eyes that bothered me, Quentin." - Misfortune declared as the door to the pub opened.
"What child, Sir?" - Quentin steps closer as if the conversation was merely a collection of whispers.
"The one that just crossed the street. The one in the grey scarf."
"Well, Sir, I´m afraid I didn´t pay much attention. What was it that bothered you?"
"I don´t know"
"Well, that´s a first." - Quentin remarks sarcastically.
"There was just something in his eyes..."
"I see." - Quentin replied. As he did so, two men approached with a beer in hand. On their chests, a name was written in golden plates; Lawrence Vernish, and Peter Croft. The latter raised his hand to greet them both. Neither responded.
"Vernish." - Quentin ordered, as he started smoking a cigar. - "Is everything ready?"
"Yes" - The detective answered rudely. - "But I sincerely doubt this will actually work, Misfortune."
"You said that in every single case we ever shared, Vernish. But which one of us is considered the world´s greatest detective?"
There was no response.
"Perhaps next time, you should limit yourself to following my every order instead of devoting all your small brain power to question them. That sounds a lot more productive, doesn´t it?"
London, 23:16, 21th November, 2016
"The new Whitechapel murderer has been caught." - Quentin remarked from the sofa, as he finished his book. They were back inside their mansion; all of the portrait´s eyes and those of Holy Mary on them from all angles.
"What did you actually expect, my dear Quentin? This is me we are talking about. It was rather easy really. Create a fake blackmail attempt and send it to each of the suspects. Set up a date on a well known place with the supposed blackmailer and get a confession out of the killer. Then if needed, drug him using something he will order at the pub to make the arrest all the easier." - Misfortune summed it all up perfectly. - "And yet I´m bored. I love a good challenge and this I´m afraid, was no challenge at all."
Suddenly, the fireplace began to burn out of nowhere and the curtains closed themselves as if moved by their sheer will.
"We have a guest in our house. A spiritual guest." - Misfortune responded. - "Who are you that invades my mansion, tortured soul?"
"Louisa Just, detective. And I´ve come seeking vengeance. Justice. Against my killer."
The room was entirely silent. Only the shivers of spines were heard. It was as if nothing was there. Just two men talking to an invisible friend. The Tarot deck fell off the table, plummeting into the ground.
"I see." - Misfortune answered. - "I´m afraid too many souls come to me for justice for me to help every single one. What interesting case do you bring with you, my lady?"
"I bring the case of a young murderer. A teenager."
"A teenager? How very interesting! And how were you murdered, my lady?"
"A cunning young murderer I see. What is his name, my precious?"
"Alistair Baldrick, detective."
Misfortune approached the fallen stack of cards, picking them up one by one.
"He´s mad, detective." - The voice continued. - "As he left me to die on my own blood, he told me "Let God stop me... if he dares." Mad, I tell you. Give me Justice! Please, give me justice! We, of the undead, know your skill and power... Give me Justice! I beg of you, Sir!"
"God, eh?" - Misfortune stares at Quentin, who stares back. They both grin. - "What a fool indeed! If it´s a God our little murderer wants to face.... Challenge accepted. The game is on, Alistair."
Quentin bowed respectfully. An echo of satisfaction came from parts unknown. Louisa´s doing perhaps? Misfortune stood still in his chair, drinking. The deck of cards was again on the table. The leading card was "The Fool", who was at the very edge of the cliff. The Epic Battle begins...
The characters present in this issue were:
- Misfortune - First Appearance
- Quentin Stride - First Appearance
- Alistair Baldrick - First Appearance
- Paula Baldrick - First Appearance
- Louisa Just - First Appearance
- DCI Lawrence Vernish - First Appearance
- DCI Peter Croft - First Appearance
- Ian Hemmings - Mentioned
- The Whitechapel Murderer - First Appearance
- The name "Quentin" comes from BIONICLEToa, who provided it on chat when the author asked for "fancy names".
- Present in the cover of the issue is the eponymous "Fool" card, who is the first of the Major Arcana, the most well known tarot cards that will feature in all of the future covers.
- The series, while starting with Misfortune as it´s central character, does not have a defined protagonist.
- The series is inspired by the author´s love for detective stories, comics and anime.
- The ealier talk in the issue refers to the events of Eight Down, a Paragon comic book that exists in the same universe.